The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Hi everyone. Sorry about that. Mark, are you there? Sorry for keeping you waiting. There were issues with the link, but here we are. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening everyone. I'll go right into the session because we are running late. Welcome everyone. Today we'll talk about the work we and our community have done around the internet and digital sovereignty. As long‑term supporters of the IGF, it's a pleasure to be here with you on organizing another open forum.
I'm Augustina and I'll be doing the online moderation during the session. Mark Carvell will be acting as on‑site moderation.
We have a panel of speakers I'll introduce soon. To kick off the meeting, I'd like to giving the floor to Andrew Sullivan, CEO to say hello.
>> ANDREW SULLIVAN: In the interest of time, rather than listening to me blather, we'll gets to the substance, so, I'll mute myself again. Welcome, everyone.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: We apologize for the delay in starting the session. The Internet Society has a community of more than 120 chapters all over the world and one of them is the Ethiopian chapter. Now I'll hand it to Adunga Necho, Internet Society chapter leader from Ethiopia chapter to say some words about his country as well. I think he's in the room, right, Mark? I don't see him. I don't know... Mark, if he's here and you can hear us?
Okay, maybe we can ask him to say a few words at the end of the meeting because we're running out of time here. I guess there's time to go deeper into today's topic, protecting the internet.
The internet, as we know it, is facing several threats. One of them is internet fragmentations, which, as you'll see at the IGF, is one of the main themes of the event and also a big community concern.
We have a panel that is made up of Natalie Campbell, Emmanuel Ogu, Mirha [phonetic] as well as Noelle. . I hope you can all hear me well and access the session.
Each speaker will have, I won't say five minutes now, because we've lost some time. We want to make sure that there is time for comments and questions at the end of the session.
And we'll, so, I guess, Natalie, you can start, right?
>> NATALIE CAMPBELL: Sure, I'm happy to do that. Hi, everyone. As Augustina mentioned, internet fragmentation is important this year for a good reason. The pandemic was a harsh reminder of the importance of making sure the internet is for everyone and at the same time, that job is not just connecting the unconnected, it's protecting and defending the internet we do have to make sure it remains for everyone. And if there was ever time to protect the internet, this is it.
So, a bit about myself. I'm a knitter. Because of that, I have a deep appreciation for the internet and years and human efforts that have gone into knitting and billing something that has become such a tremendous resource for humanity. Knitting involves taking strands of yarn, following a simple or complicated pattern and with human effort and dedication, transforming long pieces of string, with a series of stitches and knots into something really useful. Maybe a sweater or a blanket.
I'm not joking when I say it's literally taken me years to knit sweaters before. I appreciate the decades that we've put into efforts to building the internet and transforming it into being such an incredible resource that it is today.
I know my knitting community would cast shade on me for saying this, but the internet is better than a sweater. We've spent decades growing the internet. People have worked together to knit a bigger, stronger, more resilient internet.
It's bigger than any one of us, because of the value it brings to us all, it has connected us like no other innovation ever.
Because we've all contributed to this sweater, we all have a responsibility to protect it from unravelling into a fragmented version of itself or in other words the splinternet. This could lead to trends we don't want as a splinternet. What is a splinternet? Before explaining that, it's important to have a good grounding about what the internet is in the first place.
Made up of a foundation of critical properties, that all together, form the internet wave networking. I like to think of it like the business model for the internet. It's the simple foundation that the internet needs to exist, it's what separates it from being another type of network like an office internet. Or following the knitting analogy, it's a simple pattern that enables any network to become part of this global sweater that benefits us all.
But the internet, of course, is not just about the technology, every network that wants to participate in the internet, whether they know it or not, must adhere to the simple foundation that enables us to be globally connected and collaborate easily without borders.
This splinternet, however, is the opposite of the internet. The splinternet is the idea that the open globally connected internet we all use splinters into a collection of islands that don't talk to each other.
Why are we worried about this right now and more than ever? Today, businesses, governments and organizations worldwide are increasingly making decisions that can undermine the way the internet works.
And unknowingly or knowingly, start to unravel this foundation of the incredible resource that we put so much effort into creating and they might not even know it. As mentioned before, internet fragmentation is a theme for good reason. We've seen increasing number of government decisions and geopolitics start to lead to greater concerns and trends that could bring us to that worst case scenario, which is the splinternet.
The splinternet would complicate our ability to connect with one another by fragmenting the internet into separate networks that don't work together so easily. In a splinternet, I might not be able to have a Zoom conversation with my colleagues here or might have to pay a toll fee to work on a shared document if it's stored on another network in another country.
But what actually causes a splinternet? There are so many paths that could lead to a splinternet. This could be anything from internet shutdowns. When a government tries to connect supporters with the internet, it has consequences for citizens, or it's like unravelling the sleeve on a sweater. It's a disconnecting it from this global resource we call the internet.
There are split sized decisions about internet access and infrastructure that could lead to splinternet. This year, and apologies for anyone touched by this horrible war in Ukraine, but we've seen really concerning costs to disconnect other networks from the internet that also go against the principles of what the internet takes this and thrive.
This is one of the more tricky threats to mitigate, but we're seeing increased policies in business decisions that don't protect what the internet needs to exist and thrive.
Governments around the world tackling really hard, really hard, complicated issues, misinformation, online harms, and with sometimes laudable goals of trying to mitigate some of these harms for citizens, they are proposing decisions that don't understand their impact on what the internet needs to exist and thrive.
With so many governments trying to tackle these issues and making decisions without remembering what this beautiful internet needs to exist in the first place, this could lead to that worst case scenario of a splinternet.
So, enough about the problems, how do we fix this? How do we get back on course and protect this wonderful resource that we all appreciate? So, the Internet Society has created earlier, over the last two years, I'd say, the internet impact assessment toolkit.
What it does is it takes ‑‑ it's based on two white papers. The critical properties of the internet way of working, which establishes what the internet needs to exist in the first place and enablers of an open, globally connected trustworthy and secure internet. This is how we get from an internet existing to the type of internet we all want and many governments and organizations have committed to working towards, for an internet that we want today and in the future.
The Internet Society and global network of chapters have been increasingly using this toolkit to analyze the impact of decisions and proposals around the world to better‑understand how they impact the internet, but educate governments and businesses on how to mitigate these harms to the internet.
It's been a really great collaboration method that we've not only done with our community, but that has helped us have really fruitful conversations with decision makers who, as mentioned before, might pose risk to the internet without even understanding it.
This is all still very reactive. What needs to happen to really change course is that governments need to start adopting the practice of conducting internet impact assessments in their decision‑making processes.
The more that this becomes a tool of due diligence, just like environmental impact assessments, which I understand is not a practice done everywhere in the world, privacy impact assessments, this needs to become a core part of the decision‑making process and the Internet Society can help with that. In order to protect the internet and to really chart a course towards protecting and defending the open, globally‑connected, secure and trustworthy internet.
There's so much at stake, livelihoods, public health, national economies, we need to protect the internet and this is a really useful tool to do it.
So, with that, I want to thank you all for listening and I look forward to having one of our community members share about their experiences, using the toolkit to help educate about certain regional problems and how to mitigate risk or harm.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: I want to make sure people on‑site can hear us well? Mark, can you confirm that they can hear us well? Because we cannot hear you, Mark. I think you are on mute or the audio is not working.
>> MARK CARVELL: Okay, I didn't know I had to unmute. You can hear me now. I had the mic on as well.
>> Only your audio is working for remote people, they can't hear the room.
>> MARK CARVELL: I realize, is everybody hearing the speakers okay? Everybody's hearing okay, yeah.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: And we can hear you. I hope we can hear the rest of the room, yeah. Perfect, thank you.
So, Emmanuel, if you're there, please, the floor is yours.
>> EMMANUEL OGU: Hi, everyone, good day from Nigeria. Recently we have had the opportunity to apply the internet impact assessment toolkit towards inventory recommendations for Policy Development in Nigeria. It is easy to understand the incentives and motivations for which government around the world, particularly in Africa, continue to seek pathways for consolidating interest and control. Around internet and digital resources in the ecosystem, but then, you know like Natalie has already explained, the fulcrum of all of this is the concern that at the end of the day, when everyone takes their bits and pieces of the internet without some recourse to what the long‑term effect and impact will be on the open model and ensure us that someone on one side is able to communicate and interact with someone on the other side, without hindrances, without barriers and without obstructions, if we fail to understand and take into consideration these implications, then the impact would be for all of us to, to bear in the long run.
We've been supporting the government of Nigeria and recently, we've worked on two policy recommendations or two bodies of regulations that the government has sought to propose.
The first had to do with the social media bill. In 2021. Where we walked through the government and trying to propose recommendations, assess the impact of the regulation on the open and interconnected model of the internet.
And then, leading up to the Twitter ban of 2021, which made national and international headlines at some point. We were able to support government with some of the evidences regarding the impact on the internet of this bill and of this ban and also regarding economic implications, not just for digital citizens, but for the country at large.
In the long run, what can partners and the Internet Society Nigerian chapter, were able to work with our stakeholders in the ecosystem to see to lift the ban, sometime in January of 2022.
And you know, at the fulcrum of all of this, it's important to underscore the importance of the open model of the internet, you know, to all of the discussion that we have.
On one side, we have governments who are often genuinely interested in tackling decisive issues around internet regulation in various countries, issues on cyber crimes, issues on online 360, child pornography, issues of hate speech, misinformation and disinformation in all of its forms.
These are genuine intentions, but the approach has often been the problem. Between the intentions and outcomes we see, a lot is lost in between. Stakeholders begin to feel their interests and concerns are undermined in the propositions of these regulations and we've continued to work with government and stakeholders to try to build a multistakeholder perspective that allows all stakeholders to see the entirety of what regulation proposes.
Not just in terms of internet, but how it affects acceptable and unacceptable principles. Around accessibility and affordability. Principles around open source and you know, having an open interconnected medium that doesn't provide barriers of hindrances and doesn't favor certain players, you know, at the expense of others in the industry.
This has been the focus of the work we've been doing, working with stakeholders in Nigeria. Now I'll give the floor back to Augustina, thank you.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Thank you, Emmanuel. Now I'd like to giving the floor to Mirja to share about this topic. I hope we can hear her.
>> MIRJA: Okay, perfect, you can hear me?
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Yeah, there's an echo though. I think it's because you're in the room.
>> MIRJA: We have some audio problems in the room, but using the laptop, hopefully it works. Thank you for introducing. Before I start, maybe I can say a few words about the IB. One of the three leadership groups of the IETF. Internet Engineering Task Force. The role of the Internet Architecture Board is to provide architecture oversight as the name says. What we do, we look at not only the protocols itself as a building block, but try to get the big picture about how everything works together. Or if there are kind of any kind of gaps and try to further the discussion with standardization and information on such gaps.
Also, the contact point for kind of external outreach and other SDOs.
So, that's the IEP. When I'm sitting here, a group of experts we don't agree on everything, necessarily but I can say that the IEP is monitoring and discussing the global development on Internet Governance and impact on the internet and request for digital severity that we see.
The IETF's mission is to make the internet better. But if you look at the IETF, you will see that we also define better in a way based on where the internet comes from. We say in our mission statement that we want to make the internet useful for communities that chair our commitment to openness and fairness.
This is where the internet is based and what we're committed to.
The success of the internet is really based on the way we design it based on a set of principles and creating building blocks that you can use in different ways together and that's provided the success and innovation that you see today on the internet, that you can see so many services that have bloomed over time and the internet is ever‑changing.
This is one of the base principles, how we maintain these protocols and the technology that provides the internet. What we do see, however, is that more often, the community is blocked. This is concerning if the new technology is focusing ‑‑ can you still hear me?
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: We can still hear you, there's a strange noise. I don't know where it's coming from.
>> MIRJA: I think this is the room audio.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Challenges, but we can hear you now ‑‑ now I think you're on mute. [Feedback].
>> MIRJA: This one, I can try.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Let's wait one minute for this to be sorted out. Apologies. Is the ‑‑ I was told we could take five minutes after our allotted time, so we can make use of that time, if possible.
>> MIRJA: Do it work now? They can't hear us.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Yeah, we can hear you.
>> MIRJA: Okay, now it's working. Okay, now, the room audio's working, which is much better. So, I was just saying, we do observe that the protocols we develop get blocked and especially if those protocols are supposed to provide better security and protect use of privacy, that is very concerning.
But it's also concerning if this blocking is happening which is applied very broadly to the internet infrastructure. This kind of blocking breaks the internet. It means, really, it fundamentally disconnects or impacts connectivity and impacts interoperability.
And even more critical, it really limits innovation as we have seen it on the internet, which has been the success of the internet.
So, the internet is designed as a global network of networks. And trying to enforce kind of national boundaries on these networks really goes against some of these very basic design principles.
And puts really, the success of the future internet as a risk. And we should all work together to keep it one open and globally‑connected internet. Thank you.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Thank you, Mirja. I work on protecting the internet includes research on how different national approaches to digital sovereignty could impact the internet, for example.
And this year, the Internet Society conducted a Policy Development process with our community to better‑understand the issue of digital sovereignty and how it could impact the internet as we know it today.
So, my colleague, Noelle will present some of the results. Noelle, the floor is yours.
>> NOELLE DE GUZMAN: I'd like to pick up on what Natalie said earlier about there being many paths to internet fragmentation and focus on one path. This is one that is being driven by government that want to exercise their sovereignty over how the internet works within their borders.
So, we've come to know it as digital sovereignty, which Mirja has already mentioned. It's also known as cyber sovereignty. Sometimes they say tech sovereignty and as Augustina said, this has been the subject of an Internet Society study this year.
I'd like to qualify, from what we found, digital sovereignty means a lot of different things to different people in different countries. So, it would be unwise to just equate digital sovereignty with internet fragmentation.
There are people and many of them are well‑meaning people, who are using this term or expressing support for digital sovereignty and fragmenting the internet is far from what they'd like to have happen.
I see Pedro in the room and we've had a few chats with Pedro about this. I know you will agree. There is one approach, however, to digital sovereignty, at least one approach, that could fragment the internet.
Can we guess what this is? I'm not going to take more time, so, one of the reasons a government or a state wants to assert sovereignty in the digital space is when it's worried about the national security of the country.
So, it wants to secure the digital space within its borders as a way of making the country more‑secure. And this becomes a threat to the global internet when the way that the state wants to do that is by giving itself more power to control how the internet operates locally.
Maybe it wants to have a greater hand at managing internet infrastructure, maybe it wants to direct how networks operate. We've seen various examples of this. And I'm going to name a few.
One example is when a government, through its assigned agency, wants to control the flow of traffic within the country or to and from the country.
So, what it does, it comes up with its own routing policies. Another example that's happening in another country is a government telling everyone to synchronize their clocks in their ICD systems to only one source of time. And that is the government's own time servers.
So, we know that typically systems would synchronize their clocks with multiple sources of time, to minimize the risk of getting the time wrong.
And this is part of what makes the internet robust and what makes the internet resilient. So, you can see from these examples that there is an attempt to centralize the processes and the mechanisms that are decentralized and distributed on the internet.
A final example is one country requiring operators to use the DNS resolvers that are controlled by the government. So, this would effectively allow the government to change how name resolution works in the country. Or maybe it would even create its own alternative to the global DNS.
It's easy to see how this would effectively induce or prompt fragmentation in the global network of networks. And to say the least, imagine if more governments opt to do this. These examples I've been telling you are actually happening in different parts of the world. This is just a teaser. We have a lot more to say about how digital sovereignty may be affecting the internet, including the ways that Mirja has discussed.
I'd end with an invitation to please read our upcoming report. It's called navigating digital sovereignty and its impact on the internet and it's coming out on Thursday, December 1.
So, please mark your calendars. You can download it from the Internet Society website and we hope you enjoy reading it.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Thank you, Noelle. I guess that now we can open the floor for comments and questions. Let me see if there are any questions on the chat. And Mark, could you check if there are any hands up in the room and fingers crossed the audio and everything works.
I see one hand online. Maybe we can start with that one. Izaan, am I pronouncing your name right? Yes, perfect. So, please, the floor is yours.
>> IZAAN KHAN: I was asked by the ISOC Youth Ambassador Initiative to use this opportunity to present a project initiative of my own I was working on that I feel is relevant to this topic. Basically on visualizing the splinternet, which I believe is a helpful edition to what's going on in terms of the research space at the Internet Society. Where, effectively, what I'm trying to do is to look at the global perspective of how countries are looking at internet fragmentation issues and whether they're adopting any policies, legislations or any proposals at intergovernmental levels that could contribute to increased fragmentation, using frameworks like the internet impact assessment toolkit.
I'm hoping throughout the course of the next year or so, this initiative will be able to take root and I'm looking forward to collaboration with everyone because it's going to be a global project where we're going to be sourcing all these sorts of rules and pieces of legislation and open source database that, hopefully, will assist researchers. I was very familiar with the consultation process that ISOC was going through for digital sovereignty and wanted to find a way to contribute to that.
I hope this adds a lot more light and a lot more clarity to what's going on at a global level, very visually and very easily for people to see. So, yeah, thank you, everyone.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Thank you for sharing, Izaan. I was there with the ambassadors yesterday and their presentations were inspiring. That's great, that people were able to hear what you're doing in relation to splinternet.
I guess there are some questions in the room, right? Mark?
>> MARK CARVELL: There were three or four hands that went up in the room, so, let's start over here. So, if you'd like to introduce yourself and then say your question.
>> I'd like to thank you for a constructive discussion. My name is Duva [phonetic]. I'm deputy director of NPO Dialogue Russia. I prepared one question. We fully share the position that the international community bought the internet as a global space as a home for all users, however, some of the countries of the world that support that principle, in fact, were the first to help Russia find itself in IT isolation.
So, you said that we had plenty of services, but not in Russia now. We are without services and implications that we were used to, without products necessary for businesses and with blocked transactions, to say more, old Russian internet users.
The activities of Meta, at February, which didn't block costs for violence against Russians and cruel audience for Russians. (?) Don't you think this is two‑faced and is a new sort of discrimination and how would you comment on all of the current situations? Thank you.
>> MARK CARVELL: Thank you, who would like to respond?
>> MIRJA: I don't think I can probably respond to all your questions, but I want to make one point, the internet, this network of networks, connected infrastructure and there's also services on the network. Many of these services are run by private organizations which have their own reasons to perform business in place of the world or not.
What you may have seen, whenever there was a request to the community, to the technical community that governs the internet, to shut down anything related to a specific country, this was denied. We believe that having open access to the internet is really important. We cannot control every company that is offering a service on top of the internet.
>> MARK CARVELL: Augustina, do you want to see if there's a reply or response from your side?
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Any reactions here? I'm seeing a comment in the chat made by Izaan who is sharing a link to one of our blogs about imposing internet restrictions and blockages in Russia. I guess that's a very good resource. I don't see any other comments here.
>> MARK CARVELL: If you want to be quick, please? Get a mic, please?
>> ALESSANDRO: I'm from Russia and want to respond to this person. Everything she explained happened because of Mr. Putin and his support in Europe. I'd like to remind that I saw Russian chapter has been shut down as foreign agent five years ago and then, Internet Society wasn't able to tell Mr. Putin and his surroundings that during all this stuff on the internet and even in neighboring country, is very bad.
So, now, you are pro government and NGO, using your own, thank you.
>> MARK CARVELL: Let's go to the next question in the room.
>> To what extent do we allow our fear of a splinternet to give leverage to rogue agents who use the "unless you give us leverage about this regulation or that regulation, we're going to result in a splinternet." As history shows, you know, often governments, within the name of digital sovereignty, make certain demands and so on, so forth and use this threat. Other splinternet as a way to get their way in other things. I think we need to be quite cautious when it comes to dealing with certain actors that we don't fall into the trap of going "we value a global interconnected internet so much that we're prepared to let it lose some of its core, open, human rights‑oriented elements." I think there are bigger threats that can be lost if we don't use that.
Fortunately, Russia is a prime example of the problem of allowing countries to behave in a certain way. Early on and then we have a, have both the splinternet and human rights crisis.
>> MARK CARVELL: Do any of the speakers want to comment following that intervention?
>> ANDREW SULLIVAN: This was response ‑‑ the thing in the chat was in response to the previous person, but I think there's a fundamental point here that we need to pay attention to. If we start opening the door to the idea that we're going to turn off network connectivity towards any particular country because of the bad behavior or what we regard as bad behavior of the government of that country, people living within that jurisdiction, all of the people, including those who may oppose that government are negatively affected by that decision about connectivity.
So, what happens is, as we start to support anything that looks like splintering in an effort to try to do something about a government that we may regard as behaving incorrectly, we will affect negatively, the critics of that government.
But governments, nation states have the ability, after all to go around these restrictions. The internet is extraordinarily plastic. It's really difficult to cut off all access from somebody who has the resources of a nation‑state to put behind it.
And in order to do that, you would have to damage the internet badly enough that it would be bad for the rest of us as well.
So, our argument, at least the Internet Society's position is not that, you know, sanctions will never work under any circumstances, but rather, the ‑‑ trying to use economic sanction mechanisms and apply them to connectivity on the internet harms the people who are, whom we might want not to harm and it doesn't actually have any of the negative consequences on the people we do want to harm and therefore, you shouldn't do it.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Mark, are there anymore hands in the room? I see one online. Should we go to online, then? Okay, so, there is delay and the name is long, so Siva, please. Jump in.
>> SIVA: Is there some way by which the Internet Society or I can buy a clock, set it to UTC and then ask, make it a convention or a good practice for every network to synchronize the clock to the internet clock? Some sort of internet clock. Thank you.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Anyone would like to address that?
>> ANDREW SULLIVAN: I can. There is an internet clock. An internet clock is a bad idea. You should never have only one thing. But there's an internet time system, this is coordinated through an IANA time zone database and you can use the network time service to synchronize among various clocks on the internet.
And these are all, ultimately, attached to atomic clocks so that there is a consistency to it. So, the problem that Noelle was talking about is a country coming along and ordering people within the borders to use the central government clock as opposed to all of the other clocks in the world. And this increases fragility. Instead of making things better, it makes things worse.
Probably a well‑intended ‑‑ who knows? It might not be a well‑intended idea, but probably a well‑intended idea, it just increases fragility and I think that was the point of that example in the sovereignty discussion.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Thank you, Andrew. Mark, are there more questions in the room?
>> MARK CARVELL: Yes, there's a lady waiting patiently at the far end. I'll turn to her first and then maybe take two more from the room?
>> Thank you. A completely different question. Do the speakers consider pricing based, like, setting party pace mechanisms or zero rating, a form of fragmentation? Thank you.
>> MARK CARVELL: Anybody want to take that from the panel of speakers?
>> NATALIE CAMPBELL: I think this is a really clear example of one thing that could impact what the internet needs to exist. The internet was meant to be simple, it was meant to enable anyone that wants to join the internet to become part of the internet in a way that is easily accessible. The minute you start to introduce conditions or additional things that you need to do to be able to access the internet, the minute we start to get more ‑‑ it starts to become more complicated.
I do see this as a form of fragmentation, we're creating privilege access, which, I think is opposed to the principles of the internet.
So, to come back at some of the earlier comments as well, I don't think, in some ‑‑ I don't ‑‑ you know, I think this is one of the examples of many decisions could lead to that worst case scenario over splinternet. Like each drop contributes to a flood.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Being conscious of time, how many hands do we have up in the room, Mark?
>> MARK CARVELL: Show your hands again, who wants to speak? One, two, three. About four, I think.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Okay, because we are supposed to end in three minutes but we were late, so, Mark, can we take five or ten minutes more so we give the room to our colleagues to say good‑bye to people attending the forum. Can we take ten minutes more. Is that possible, there?
>> MARK CARVELL: I think so. The next session starts here on the hour. 15 minutes after we're due to finish. I think we can do it.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Okay, maybe we can take two more questions from the room, there's one online and then we can give the floor to our colleague to close the session, so he has the opportunity to speak as well.
There's something we cannot see from here. How many people are in the room?
>> MARK CARVELL: About 70. We have four or five hands going up now.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: We can continue with the question. Because we can't see it from here, I was curious to know. Mark, I think you're on mute now. We cannot hear you, Mark.
>> MARK CARVELL: Shall we go to a question? The room?
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Yep, perfect. Thank you.
>> MARK CARVELL: Okay, so, if you'd like to introduce yourself first.
>> TIM: I'm from Russia. Too many Russians speaking today. So, I'd like to make two short points, first of all, that one of the previous speakers actually set the Russians should suffer because they're Russian. (?) My idea is why don't we take a salute that we keep political issues that are very complex out of the discussion, because we're discussing infrastructure and we're discussing how to build bridges, rather than how to fire them.
Secondly, you mentioned that the Facebook issue was related to some private company and I can't argue with it because Facebook is a real private company, but my idea, my point is that Facebook is so big, that it has two big impact on how the internet develops and we cannot take this into consideration, thank you so much.
>> MARK CARVELL: Thank you very much, anybody want to respond to that or shall we go to the next question?
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: I think, being conscious of time, we can go to the next question.
>> MARK CARVELL: Okay, if you'd like to introduce yourself.
>> LEE MCKNIGHT: I have a question for Mirja, speaking on the internet fragility issue. Could you give specific examples of what you're worrying about at the IUD level, as opposed to the application and service level? Thank you.
>> MIRJA: A specific example. There was a case only a few weeks ago, where IP addresses were blocked that belong to Cloud Fare, a CBM provider serving many websites. The original intent of blocking these IP addresses were for good or bad reasons. I don't even want to judge that.
But somehow this was implemented in a wrong, technical way, without people having knowledge about the impact they increase on that.
And having a large impact on internet users in Austria, which really wasn't intended. And this is just like one of the examples where maybe the policy intent might be good or bad, I don't comment on this, but it's one of the ways to implement it.
Which, in this gap of understanding is important for this forum here. Does that answer the question? Thank you.
>> MARK CARVELL: Thanks very much, Augustina, shall we go to an online question next and then back into the room?
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Sure, I see one hand from Viacheslav.
>> VIACHESLAV EROKHIN: Working as a policy advisor. I'm a representative for Russia. I work in ITU, internet issues and so forth.
I have one, how to say, practical question. Today, Natalie speak about needs for governments to anticipate consequences, impact of their regulation for the future of internet. As well as Andrew said about digital sovereignty and rights of governments to regulate issues related to internet.
Yes, it's right. But practical question, how we can organize cooperational governments or harmonization of the regulation.
Because now we have some sort of dualism, all talking about preventing fragmentation, about one world, one internet and after that, in national sovereignty, continue to regulate uncoordinated efforts for regulation internet.
And most important, these regulation include exterior norms. This is dangerous. Practical question, what do we think, how we can organize cooperational government bodies for internet regulation?
We have, as a representative for government, we have a number of initiatives in United Nations, in ITU and so forth. And by the way, no big success, no common ground. Where you see common ground for government or corporation, thank you.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Thank you for your comment, any reactions?
>> NATALIE CAMPBELL: I can give a quick reaction. The reason we created an internet assessment toolkit is not to solve the challenges of approaches to regulation and how do we harmonize those approaches that might have very different goals to work together in a way that is uniform. What the internet impact assessment toolkit does is helps us make sure it achieves the objective of understanding how it impacts what the internet needs to exist in the first place.
So, it's not to say it's the be all, end all, if we have a particular legislative goal, there might be other types of impact assessments that we want to be aware of or other ways that we can collaborate to actually achieve this goal but what the internet impact assessment toolkit does is helps us prevent harming the internet on the path to achieving whatever the policy goal is.
So, this is why I ‑‑ as mentioned before, the more that we start embedding that as part of due diligence, maybe not the only due diligence to achieving policy objectives that we have, but we need to make sure we're protecting what the internet needs to exist in the first place and if the internet way is a way that we want to continue supporting to begin with.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Thank you, Natalie. Before we go to the final question in the room there, are a lot of comments on the chat that I think people on‑site cannot see. For example, there's a comment from Pedro highlighting the importance of the IGF as a tool for that kind of cooperation.
So, I get that this conversation is also showing the need of multistakeholder cooperation and the need to continue discussing these issues.
So, mark, we'd like to take the last question before we go to Adugna.
>> I'll keep it short. There was a morning session, similar to this one, I'm confused. I'm sort of new to this, but fragmentation seems to have multiple meanings and depending which room and which conversation I've sat in, I hear it used differently.
So, the user fragmentation versus the core of the internet fragmentation seems to me where I sort of get lost in this conversation. I was hoping, is there an explanation of what we mean by fragmentation when we use the word fragmentation? Because it seems to me that if the Russians wanted to e‑mail the Ukrainans, that's still possible because the internet, the core of the internet is still there. That's not fragmented, but the upper layers, user experience and so forth.
Just a quick second question. We used examples of Member States creating fragility or fragmentation, I'm curious, are their private sector examples?
>> MARK CARVELL: Okay, anybody from the panel of speakers wants to comment?
>> MIRJA: The goal is giving people access to information. This also means the internet has to run as one network. And imposing restrictions, blocking and fragmentations on all layers, risks that the internet breaks apart. Currently, yes, you can still send an e‑mail, but if you implement things on the lower layer, this can also impact connectivity.
So, yes, the things we're talking about are different on the technical level, different approaches, different solutions, but I think the risk behind this is the same. That we reduce the value of unconnected people and we're not having a forum anymore, that can freely access information. That is a big goal behind this. Does that help you?
We can share more offline.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Yeah, I think we are approaching the end of the session. I'm sorry to cut the discussion now and I'm sorry for starting this session late. It was great to know that we have many people in the room, many people online and a lot of interest in the topic.
I hope the conversation around these issues can continue online and in the hallway for those that are in Addis. And for us, internet fragmentation will continue to be a key topic for, in 2023.
So, stay tuned for how to get involved. As Natalie highlighted, we think the Internet Impact Assessment Toolkit for all of you to use. As Noelle shared, we're about to release our white paper on digital sovereignty on Thursday, right, Noelle?
So, yes, please stay tuned for that. But before we close this session, I would like to give a couple of minutes to our Ethiopian chapter leader, Adugna to say a few words and to welcome you all to his country.
So, Adugna, I'm sorry you weren't able to speak at the beginning, but I hope we can hear you now.
>> ADUGNA NECHO: Okay, hopefully you can hear me now. I'm honored to speak about my country and my chapter. First, let me welcome you all to the capital city of Africa. Please allow me to say a few words about my country, Ethiopia and our chapter.
To start from Ethiopia, Africa's oldest independent country. We have a diverse heritage. Being a founding member of AU. UN has international organization. Now Ethiopia has two chapter cities. Let me give you some highlight about Ethiopia chapter. Is a national nonprofit association.
The chapter sharing the vision and open globally‑connected, secure level and affordable internet for everyone. It was all established during 2020. Different disciplines living and working in different parts of the country.
We're happy to see the global IGF and awaiting the national IGF this year. We're working on the report. We support as the chapter and we're part of our committee.
Finally, I wanted to challenge persons online, to visit our director places and make them do everything in Addis. I think we have a good conversation and presentation decision, thank you very much.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Thank you very much to everyone attending the session, both on‑site and online. Thank you, Mark, for your support and thank you to my colleagues and to the panelists.
So, it was a great session and great hearing from all of you. Thank you.
>> MARK CARVELL: Okay, people in the room, can you leave quickly? The next session wants to start and apologize profusely to them for running right up to the time.
>> AUGUSTINA CALLEGARI: Thank you, Mark. Thank you, everyone. Bye.